1 This is Ryan Fibiger, the owner and head butcher of Saugatuck Craft Butchery, hoisting the hind quarter of a steer.
2 Saugatuck Craft Butchery opened its doors for business last November in the newly constructed Saugatuck Center.
3 Saugatuck Center is located near the Westport Metro North train station on the banks of the Saugatuck River.
4 The bright and attractive market is flooded with natural light.
5 Store art
6 Did you know that 99% of supermarket meat is raised on factory farms, where the animals are fed a grain diet and given steroids or hormones to speed up the fattening process?
7 Ryan buys his meat from small local farms, where it was pasture-raised and lived stress-free lives. These animals were never given antibiotics, hormones, steroids, or animal by-products.
8 This all translates into leaner, healthier, and much better tasting meats.
9 All the meat is cut right on this large wooden butcher table in clear view of the customers.
10 Paul Nessel, co-owner and fellow butcher, was busy trimming steaks.
11 Some tools of the trade - An aluminum scabbard for holding ultra-sharp knives
12 More tools - knife steel, meat saw, and bone dusters, which remove unwanted fat from the surface of the meat.
13 Ryan mentioned that the American market prefers meat from the middle of the animal, where the beef is usually tender. Rib eye is a very popular cut.
14 Another big seller is the tenderloin.
15 And the London broil
16 And the sirloin tip
17 Ryan wants to educate about lesser-known cuts - The bavette is located between the sirloin and the flank. It has a character much like a flank or skirt steak, with an intense meaty flavor and a surprisingly delicate texture.
18 Veal is a sensitive topic and Ryan sells a limited supply. His veal comes from male calves acquired from dairy farms.
19 Fresh kale is used in the display cases as garnish.
20 The pork selections are quite amazing. Each week, Ryan orders three heritage breed pigs for butchering. The pork chops are tender, juicy, and very flavorful.
21 There is a thin cut.
22 And a super thick cut!
23 There's even a Westporkerhouse! This is a bit of humor and a takeoff of the beef term, porterhouse, which includes a T-shaped bone with meat on each side.
24 Pork shoulder is a large cut that requires a long cooking time. These shoulders are attractively trussed with butcher twine.
25 A closer look - With that layer of beautiful fat, the shoulder is sure to be fall-apart tender when roasted!
26 Again, the pork loin roast has a generous layer of fat for intense basting.
27 Pork tenderloin is the muscle that runs along the spine. It's the most tender part of the animal because this muscle is not used for locomotion.
28 Craft Butchery sells a lot of pork cutlets, a wonderful alternative to veal cutlets.
29 Meaty pork spare ribs
30 And fantastic looking pork belly! An interesting fact - Ryan says that nearly half of his customers are European or South American. They understand this old-time use of the whole animal.
31 Sausage-making is a large program at Craft Butchery.
32 There are several varieties of sausage to choose from.
33 Ryan explained that this machine is where sausage meat is blended and stuffed into casings. It can make batches of 100-pounds at a time.
34 Lamb is also very popular and they butcher four lambs per week. Bill Taibe's new restaurant, The Whelk, http://thewhelkwestport.com/ just across the way, buys quite a bit of lamb for its menu.
35 Beautiful rack of lamb
36 Meaty lamb shanks for braising
37 Lamb shoulder for slow roasting
38 And, of course, butterflied leg of lamb, which is amazing on the grill!
39 The ground beef is an 80/20% ratio of meat and fat, making for a nice and juicy recipe.
40 This vacuum sealing machine is used to package many cuts of meat and meat products.
41 Like these packages of ground bork, a combination of beef and pork. It's great for meatloaf, meatballs, and burgers.
42 They also make beef hotdogs and pork hotdogs.
43 And beef and bacon sliders
44 The bacon is smoked right outside in an electric smoker.
45 There's also smoked ham and delicious roast beef.
46 They sell a nice selection of artisanal cheeses.
47 And local charcuterie
48 Craft Butchery sells quite a bit of chicken, also locally grown in a humane and sustainable fashion. Fully roasted rotisserie chickens are very popular with train commuters.
49 And this is a fine example of what nose-to-tail butchering is all about.
50 Paul begins cutting the pigs head apart.
51 These are the prized and tender cheeks.
52 The pig jowls are used for guanciale, an unsmoked Italian bacon and the ears are showing up on menus braised until tender and then deep fried.
53 A local chef has been promised the brains. Behind Paul is the window of the dry aging room.
54 A peek inside the refrigerated dry aging room, where the meat rests in this controlled and closely watched environment.
55 The sections of meat are clearly labeled by date for proper aging. This aging process allows natural enzymes to break down the hard connective tissue in meats and for water to evaporate away concentrating the flavors.
56 Nearly every scrap of the animal is used in some way. This is where leftovers and bones are turned into rich stocks.
57 The stocks are available in the store's freezer.
58 Saugatuck Craft Butchery has received great press.
59 As part of the education process for using lesser-known cuts of meat, there are wonderful cookbooks with a focus on meat for sale.
60 Other artisanal products offered include Grand Gorge maple syrup from New York State. http://grandgorgegarlicandmaple.com/
61 And McClure's pickles from Brooklyn http://www.mcclurespickles.com/
62 Lovely eggs from Whispering Winds Animal Connection in Coventry, CT http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bc-chickenss-chicken-coop
63 Meat orders are nicely wrapped in brown butcher paper.
64 And sealed with a Saugatuck Craft Butchery label.
65 And brown bagged to go. Reusable insulated bags are available, if needed.